Archive for the “U.S. Politics” Category

Politics in the United States

89 - Cry Baby!The nation’s Christianists have been whining and fuming for the last 5 years about Barack Obama’s election as president. They’ve made numerous accusations about him … such as that he’s a Kenyan citizen and not American, he’s a Marxist, a “secret Muslim,” a minion of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that he’s the Antichrist.

Although some Religious Right figures are willing to make statements of this sort openly, a lot have been more circumspect about it. They prefer to wink in the direction of such ideas rather than espouse them explicitly. It’s a kind of triangulation that maintains their appeal among angry, militant Rightists who genuinely believe in one of those insane Obama hypotheses, without appearing nutty, themselves, to the rest of us.

One Religious Rightist who recently decided to engage in this sort of triangulation, as the Religion News Service reports, is famed Texas megapastor Robert Jeffress (WebCite cached article):

Already no stranger to controversy, the Rev. Robert Jeffress, a Dallas megachurch pastor, is coming out with a book that claims President Barack Obama is clearing the way for the Antichrist.

Jeffress, head of the 11,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, writes in his book “Perfect Ending” that he does not believe Obama is the Antichrist, yet he links Obama’s support of gay marriage to the coming of the Antichrist. Many Christians believe Jesus’ Second Coming will feature a confrontation with an enemy called the Antichrist, based on interpretation of passages 1 John and 2 John.…

“While I am not suggesting that President Obama is the Antichrist, the fact that he was able to propose such a sweeping change in God’s law and still win reelection by a comfortable margin illustrates how a future world leader will be able to oppose God’s laws without any repercussions.”…

Jeffress wasn’t claiming that Obama is the Antichrist, and said he was not questioning the president’s faith. “But what I am saying is this: the course he is choosing to lead our nation is paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist.”

Jeffress’s crybaby gripes center around the two current bogeymen of the R.R.: gay marriage and the contraception mandate. While it’s true he explicitly said he doesn’t think Obama is the Antichrist, that he connected Obama with this terrifying figure out of Christian legend can only be a potential appeal to other hateful Christianists who view the president as being in league with Satan.

The RNS article mentions the word “antichrist” was coined by the author of the Johannine epistles (specifically, it’s found in 1 Jn 2:18, 22; 1 Jn 4:3; and 2 Jn 1:7). But it’s not clear it refers to a single person or spirit. 1 Jn 2:18 reads:

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.

Clearly the Johannine author is saying there are many “antichrists”; but all the other mentions of “antichrist” are in the singular, and appear to refer only to a singular being. So which is it? Your guess is as good as mine. Although most fundamentalist Christians view “the Antichrist” as some future person, and connect him/her with “the Beast” of Revelation, the Bible itself makes no such connection, and 1 Jn 2:18 certainly contradicts that (since it mentions more than one Antichrist, contemporaneous with its author to boot).

The RNS story also mentions another stupid thing Jeffress said:

In his book, Jeffress makes his case that Christians should study prophecy more closely. “Evangelist Billy Graham once observed that ‘the most neglected teaching in the church today is the second coming of Jesus Christ,’” he said.

This is idiotic on two counts: First, because all Biblical prophecy — every last stinking bit of it — is pure, unfiltered, 100% grade-A bullshit. Simple as that. Second, that Biblical prophecy is somehow “neglected” is a flat-out lie. For the last few decades there’s been endless “End Times” talk streaming out of Christian fundamentalism. The success of the Left Behind publishing empire all by itself thoroughly disproves Jeffress’s (and by extension, Graham’s) contention that Christian prophecy is being ignored.

Photo credit: eyeliam, via Flickr.

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Crying newborn, via Wikimedia CommonsI already blogged about one sanctimoniosly-enraged religiofascist going on a hunger strike over gay marriage in Utah. But there’s a lot more going on in that mostly-Mormon state. As KSTU-TV in Salt Lake City reports, there was a rally for a revolt against that state’s government (WebCite cached article):

Billed as a call for an uprising, opponents of same-sex marriage gathered for a meeting in Highland on Saturday.

Former Graham County, Ariz., Sheriff Richard Mack spoke about issues concerning the U.S. Constitution, including same-sex marriage.

Mack says that since it appears that Herbert and other elected leaders have failed at their jobs, it’s up to law enforcement and everyday citizens to deny same-sex marriage.

“The people of Utah have rights, too, not just the homosexuals. The homosexuals are shoving their agenda down our throats,” Mack said.

Cherilyn Eager, who helped organize the event, says that it’s time for the citizens of Utah to speak up for their rights.

“We need people to stand up and speak out. We need to get noisy. We need some outrage,” Eager said. ”It is about the sheriffs now coming out to protect the people.”

Here’s the station’s video report:

In the course of supporting his call for revolution, Mack claimed that federal law doesn’t supersede state law … which is absolutely not true. There’s this little thing in the Constitution (Article VI, section 2 to be exact) known as the supremacy clause, which explicitly states this. So Mack is lying when he, ironically, says federal supremacy is a lie. That, in turn, makes him a lying liar for Jesus.

These people have a lot of trouble with the concept of granting others (for instance, gays) certain freedoms (for instance, the ability to marry). They appear to think this somehow affects them. But it doesn’t! Allowing gays to marry doesn’t prevent heterosexual couples from marrying and it doesn’t force people into gay marriages against their will. If a couple of gays somewhere get married, it doesn’t affect them in any way. They really need to grow up and get over themselves already, and move on with their lives … which are not changed in the slightest by Kitchen v. Herbert.

What’s more, calling for a revolt against the governor and state government which is doing its best to appeal the ruling, makes no sense to me. But then, what could this cynical, godless agnostic heathen possibly know about anything this important?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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PsiCop graphic / “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men  to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward  with your Father who is in heaven.” ~Mt 6:1, NASBThe mayor of the Dallas-Ft Worth suburb of Flower Mound, TX has declared 2014 to be “the Year of the Bible.” As KXAS-TV in Ft Worth reports, this is problematic (WebCite cached article):

The mayor of Flower Mound is receiving a lot of attention after declaring 2014 the “Year of the Bible.”

Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden made the proclamation during a regularly scheduled city council meeting in the Dallas-area suburb last month.

“I ask that you join with me, Tom Hayden, Mayor of the Town of Flower Mound, Texas, in Proclaiming 2014 to be the ‘Year of the Bible’ in Flower Mound, Texas, and encourage all residents in their own way to examine the principles and teachings found in the Bible,” Hayden said during the Dec. 16 meeting.

Here’s the station’s video report:

It appears Flower Mound isn’t exactly some backwater town in the wilds of Texas where everyone is a card-carrying, Bible-thumping member of some Protestant evangelical church. As the story explains, it’s much more cosmopolitan (in terms of religion) than that:

There are dozens of churches in Flower Mound, which has a population of more than 66,000 people. The majority of the churches are Christian-based, but at least five of the organized religions with places of worship in Flower Mound are not. There is an Islamic mosque, a Hindu temple, a Baha’i temple, a Zoroastrian church and a Jewish synagogue.

Well done, Yeronner, you’ve successfully alienated a bunch of your constitutents. Well done! You must be so proud!

Like any shifty Christofascist who’s been caught saying or doing something for Jesus that he shouldn’t have done, Hayden is veering all over the place trying to avoid responsibility for what he did and downplaying its SOCAS implications:

Hayden added that he is disappointed that the focus for some concerning the “Year of the Bible” proclamation has been on him and not, as he intended, on the teachings in the Bible.…

Hayden reiterated to NBC 5 Monday this proclamation was not an order on behalf of the municipal government, but was instead an action taken specifically and solely by him.

That last part is a lie, of course. I will repeat what he said when he made his proclamation (emphasis added):

“I ask that you join with me, Tom Hayden, Mayor of the Town of Flower Mound, Texas, in Proclaiming 2014 to be the ‘Year of the Bible’ in Flower Mound, Texas, and encourage all residents in their own way to examine the principles and teachings found in the Bible,” Hayden said during the Dec. 16 meeting.

That’s right: He explicitly and overtly made this proclamation as Mayor of his town! Also — if you look at the video above, you’ll see Hayden made his proclamation with the Flower Mount, TX emblem as a backdrop. So when he told the reporter he did this as a private citizen and not as Mayor, he was lying. This little bit of disingenuity places Mayor Hayden squarely in my “lying liars for Jesus” club.

Of course, Hizzonner also is disobeying his own Jesus. You see, merely by standing up and trumpeting his own reverence for the Bible, he’s engaging in the practice of “public piety,” which the founder of his own religion clearly and unambiguously forbid him ever to do:

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Mt 6:1-6)

It’s quite obvious to me that a lot of Christians like Hizzonner have a great deal of trouble with this particular passage. They ignore it because, let’s face it, what good is it to be an upright, dutiful Christian, if one doesn’t go around impressing others with how uprightly and dutifully Christian one is? So what if Jesus forbid that?

Photo credit: PsiCop graphic, based on Mt 6:1, NASB.

Hat tip: Hypervocal.

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Baby crying and upset / Darren Beck, via Open Clip Art LibraryYou’ve just gotta love Rightists who infest the federal government. They’ve spent the last few years raging, fuming, screaming, and whining about the horrors of Washington, yet hypocritically, they’ve built careers in that city, make their livings on it, and have taken up residence there. They shut down the federal government with the expectation that doing so would coerce the administration into canceling implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and then, hypocritically, they staged a protest of said shutdown, as CNN reports (WebCite cached article). During that protest, the ferociously angry Christofascist Larry Klayman called for a revolution and ordered President Obama to surrender to him:

One speaker went as far as saying the president was a Muslim and separately urged the crowd of hundreds to initiate a peaceful uprising.

“I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up,” said Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, a conservative political advocacy group.

The whiney crybaby Larry is repeating his call for a revolution, which I’ve blogged about already. The problem with his yammering isn’t that he’s expecting Obama to do something he’s never going to do (i.e. resign). Of course juvenile Rightist cretins like Larry-boy are going to make demands of the president which he’s never going to comply with. Of course he’s going to caterwaul sanctimoniously about how awful it is that the insolent president — who was first elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 — has dared remain in office.

No, the problem is Larry-boy’s implication that Obama is a Muslim. As I’ve blogged several times already, Obama is a Christian, and not a Muslim at all. He just isn’t. Maybe crybaby Larry and his Christofascist pals disagree with that, but too bad for them, they don’t have a vote in the matter. Obama is, in fact, a Christian. Multiple fact-checkers have explained this, but the Right more or less refuses to accept it.

(There’s a reason for this refusal: Rightists insist those fact-checking sites are “biased” to the Left, are “in the tank” for Obama, and knowingly lie in order to help him. These Rightists don’t know these sites have also called out Leftists — and Obama specifically — on their falsehoods, too. Their paranoid conviction that these sites are insidiously “biased” against them, of course, is a result of the hostile media effect, and is something that all ideologues fall prey to. As it turns out, the more fact-checkers explain these idiots’ errors to them, the harder they dig their heels in against conceding they’ve been lying. Yes, it’s a very childish game, but ideologues love to play it.)

Klayman’s hypocrisy exists at several levels: As noted, he protested the shutdown of the federal government that his own ideology worked toward; he built his career on a federal government he despises; and he opposes what he calls “judicial activism,” except when Rightists are doing it, in which case he cheers them on.

Like most Christians, little Larry hasn’t read his Bible. If he had, he’d have known that his own Jesus clearly and explicitly forbid him ever to engage in hypocrisy of any kind:

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Mt 7:5)

Or how can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,” when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. (Lk 6:42)

As I said at the start of this post, you’ve just got to love these guys. They’re so proud of their brazen hypocrisy, and so courageous in their refusal to accept any facts contrary to what they believe, they’re trumpeting it to the heavens.

Photo credit: Darren Beck, via Open Clip Art Library.

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Torches and pitchforks (from 1931 Frankenstein) / Courtesy of Word SpyNot just one, but two very outspoken representatives of “the Religion of Love” have overtly called for revolution and/or a coup d’etat against the United States President. In the first example, as the Raw Story reports based on Right Wing Watch, a televangelist requested a military coup (locally-cached article):

A Christian TV host this week called on God to consider a “military takeover” of President Barack Obama’s government because it could be the only way to save the country from tyranny.

On his Monday Internet broadcast, Morning Star TV’s Rick Joyner predicted that democracy was “doomed” unless the Lord imposed martial law.

“The balance of powers in the legislative and judicial branches were supposed to balance and keep in check, hold in check, the potential tyranny from the executive branch overstepping their bounds,” Joyner explained. “The people are not always right, it depends on what people they are. And another thing the founders warned about is this thing will only work for a moral and a religious people. You remove morality, you remove the religious influence, and it cannot work.”

“We’re headed for serious tyranny, a terrible tyranny right now,” he continued. “But guess what? The kingdom is coming, the Kingdom of God is coming. And America is not the Kingdom of God. I think we have been used in some wonderful and powerful ways by God, we’ve been one of the most generous nations in history. We’ve done so much good.”

Right Wing Watch had provided video of this creep calling for tyranny to be imposed in the name of ending tyranny, but Morning Star saw fit to have it taken down. Hopefully it’ll be restored, and if it is, I’ll put it right here for you.

Update: Here you are! Enjoy it while it lasts:

In the second example, another Christofascist, Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch, has announced the date of the coming revolution against the President (locally-cached article):

On November 19, 2013, a day that will hopefully live on in the history of our once great republic, I call upon millions of Americans who have been appalled and disgusted by Obama’s criminality — his Muslim, socialist, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-white, pro-illegal immigrant, pro-radical gay and lesbian agenda — among other outrages, to descend on Washington, D.C., en masse, and demand that he leave town and resign from office if he does not want to face prison time.

His laughable, juvenile screed is one of the most ridiculous collections of insipid whining and outright lies I’ve ever seen — including calling the Obama administration a “reign of terror,” and pronouncing him guilty of some crime based upon a putative indictment by a supposed “citizen grand jury.” (Sounds a lot like pseudolaw to me.)

These shining examples of Christian “love” would be hilarious, if not for the fact that there are lots of people in the country, i.e. the Religious Right, who agree with these guys. Millions of them. If that doesn’t frighten you, you’re not paying attention.

Photo credit: Word Spy.

Hat tip: First: Rick Alan Ross, via Twitter; second: Right Wing Watch.

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White House press secretary Dana PerinoFor a very long time, the Religious Right has contended (incorrectly, of course) that there’s no such thing as “separation of church and state” in the U.S. While they are correct when they say that phrase is not found in the Constitution or any of its amendments, they’re wrong when they claim it’s not even implied. No less an authority on the matter than the author of the First Amendment, James Madison, himself once explained this in writing:

Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.

So this contention is factually incorrect.

Put more bluntly, they are lying about the Constitution.

Even so, despite being as obviously wrong as they are, they aren’t holding back. In fact, they’re going even a bit further. Texas governor Rick Perry, for example, recently stated openly that there is no such thing as “freedom from religion.” In other words, it is perfectly legal, as far as he’s concerned, for government to force a non-believer to adopt a religion.

In that same vein, a Rightist pundit — who’d been G.W. Bush’s last press secretary — used her virtual podium on Fox News to declare that atheists ought to leave the country, as the Raw Story reports, and her colleague Bob Beckel agreed (WebCite cached article):

Fox News host Dana Perino this week suggested that atheists should leave the country instead of trying to maintain the separation of church and state.

In a case before the Massachusetts Supreme Court, atheist lawyer David Niose argued that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance violates the Equal Rights Amendment of the state’s constitution.

“I’m tired of them,” Perino complained on Wedneday [sic].…

“If these people really don’t like it, they don’t have to live here,” she added.

“Yeah, that’s a good point,” co-host Bob Beckel agreed.

Here’s video of this pleasant little exchange, courtesy of the Raw Story:

I’m old enough to recall all the “love it or leave it” talk that was common back in the 1970s. It was hurled most often at Vietnam war protesters. The implication is that Americans are required either to support whatever the US does — whether right or wrong — or shut up and leave the country. It’s been 40 years or so since then, and I’d thought people had gotten over that sort of thinking. I guess they haven’t?

The bottom line is, we have two Rightist pundits averring that non-believers should be forced either to swear the Pledge of Allegiance, including the “under God” phrase, or else be thrown out of the country. I can’t think of many better examples of religiofascism than this. Can you?

Hat tip: mepper, via Reddit.

Photo credit: fredthompson, via Flickr.

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Albigensian Crusade 01I’ve been told that Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, failed vice-presidential candidate, and princess of the GOP and of the teabaggers who infest it, isn’t nearly as stupid or insane as she seems to be. “Crazy like a fox” is the expression I’ve heard.

Even so, I can’t help but wonder if Ms Palin is aware she recently spoke in a manner befitting a medieval Crusade leader. My guess is, she doesn’t know it, because like most Americans, especially of the Religious Right sort, she has no education in medieval history. No, I think she spewed some of her own insane lunacy, and it only just happens to sound that way. Politico reports she made remarks about President Obama’s plan to attack Syria sometime over the next few weeks (WebCite cached article):

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is condemning potential American military action in Syria, charging it would be President Obama “saving political face” and saying, “Let Allah sort it out.”

She did this in a Facebook posting, complete with a picture of her standing with members of the military (cached). How patriotic of her!

I immediately recalled my own medieval studies: “Let Allah sort it out” is Ms Palin’s own version of a common paraphrase of an order reportedly delivered in the field by a Papal legate leading a Crusader army in southern France.

The occasion was the attack on Béziers in 1209. The army of legate Arnaud Amalric was concerned about how to tell the loyal Catholics in the town from the heretic Cathars. What he reportedly told them, was “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius,” or in English, “Kill them all. The Lord knows who are his own.” Whether or not he actually said this, is a matter of some conjecture. What is more certain, is that by the legate’s admission, his own men killed Catholics and Cathars indiscriminately. So even if he hadn’t given such an order, he might as well have, because that’s how his men behaved.

The other question I have about Ms Palin’s criticism of the impending attack on Syria, is that I seriously wonder if she’d be condemning it, had either John McCain or Mitt Romney been in office and made the same decision. Her running-mate, McCain, in particular has been scrapping for a war in Syria for quite some time now (cached). I’m not sure she’d be so outspoken against such a move, if a Republican president had proposed it.

In any event, I’m not sure a bone-chilling pronouncement of doom on people, some of whom she has to know would be innocent, is the best way for Ms Palin to talk about the Syrian civil war and the manner in which the US should deal with it. I’m also pretty sure that some propagandists in the Islamic world will pick up on her medieval-Crusade-style language and use that as evidence that the US is engaged in a modern-day “Crusade” to wipe out Islam as a religion and kill all Muslims. (Not that this is possible for us to do, obviously, but that won’t stop them from saying so.) We just don’t fucking need people spewing this kind of rank bullshit.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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